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Author Archives: Healing Eyes

I wish for comfort and stability but instead I get a turkey

Why am I in Africa? There is a cozy apartment back in Michigan calling my name. It has water and a toilet and even a washer/dryer. What does it accomplish traveling all the way over here to interact with others who don’t understand you? Cultural differences and uncomfortable situations daily and hourly. Why do people sign up for this abuse? Crap…I’m one of those stupid people. 

Honestly … I want to leave. Truly… I want to run. Freakin get me out of here is what I want. 

Does it matter what I want? Or am I supposed to die to self and give of my desires to serve others? Ugh…I’m cool with more of a balanced approach ha. Give me ice cream and I’ll give an hour of my life. Could that work? Please!!!!!

Where am I leading with this rant….

I just finished using two buckets to wash my laundry and hang them to dry while 5 geese and 2 turkeys attacked me. The twisted side is I actually felt good about washing my clothes. Finally I got to do something alone and independently! I did something!! Then I mopped my floor and began writing letters to some girls I exchange notes with at the school. I added some stickers to “girly” them up. These girls have no fathers and are disliked by there mothers. One girl is on her own because she couldn’t handle the abuse. Sometimes when a woman remarries the new husband will treat her kids badly and so the kids are forced out. 

I’m not doing much here but I am spending time with teenagers who are suffering. When I get back to Michigan I don’t know what to do with my life. But maybe it’s not up to me and my invisible friend is in control. I want comfort and independence but my hands are tied…for now. 

Healing Eyes

Meeting between demons and a widow

Do you believe in coincidence or fate? 

Yesterday I had hoped to visit the school called mugomari where I felt uncomfortable at. I feel drawn there even though I feel evil there. But those plans fell through and were moved to today. On arrival I felt a bit uncomfortable but soon I was led over to the primary school next door where hundreds of elementary age kids are taught. I took my ukulele in hand and walked over and soon I was surrounded by kids. A nice neat circle of blue dresses and shirts with dark faces crowded around the only white girl. I started to play and sing Somewhere over the rainbow and taught them to sing with me. It was the pick me up I needed before confronting the evil that lay beneath the grounds of the high school. 

After music time I was lured into a classroom to teach English to the small children. Compared to American kids you can’t imagine how attentive they were. These kids want to learn!!! So I took there book and started to stutter through a lesson plan. No adult came by to aid or confirm it was ok…so I just did it. 

The day progressed and I soon was ushered back over to the high school. Past the barb wire fence that divided the schools and into the depths of my fears. I am a skeptic first of all but I am learning that there are forces at play here I can’t explain. The feeling on this side of the fence is entirely different than you can imagine. As the day wore on my headache began and I felt worn out. I can only handle breathing this air for short periods. 

I did enjoy my time with the older kids and they genuinely care. I think they just have no outlet and are oppressed. I sat in on a religion class and guess what the lesson was? Demonic possession !! I kid you not ! Coincidence or God speaking plainly to me? These school grounds are damaged by some ill will for sure and it will take time to heal. During class I tried to lighten the mood by asking questions and making the kids laugh at my curiosity. Quite fun to stick out and not care what others think of me these days. 

I went in with the purpose of the kids and stuck to it..I wandered from class to class to engage others. I even took a piki piki (motor bike ) to get there today on some bad muddy roads. I loved it! Piki piki is the only way to travel. 

My conversations with the kids on religion after class was delightfully fun. They asked bible facts and I said I had no clue. They laughed but I followed it up with why I like Jesus. My relationship with him and how I prayed before coming and explained how I prayed the kids would be nice to me and I would have strength. One girl said “sarah you are strong!”

I had a day of independence and freedom and I dare say I thrived because God helped me do so. Perhaps I have found my element .. The countryside here on piki piki is beautiful and the children once uninhibited by adults are truly beautiful. 

On a side note. I asked the teacher of religion if he believed in demons and Jesus and he said not really. He could go either way and isn’t a firm believer. He is a skeptic. So that means an Agnostic is teaching kids about Christianity on demon possessed lands. Irony? 

Healing Eyes

A wedding flower from a girl who has little to give 

The other day I colored some pictures for a couple girls I’ve been teaching and wrote them an encouragement letter. I snuck it to them and told them to read when they got home. Today I got replies from them…and one of them drew me a flower, a Wedding flower. What a coincidence on this day, 15 years after marrying Andy on a beautiful summer day at the age of 20. Now I’m 35 and widowed and a girl in Africa gives me a wedding flower!

She also wrote this, “compassion, obedience, generous, sharing and helping others. Even through sharing your experience is a great part of LOVE. Sharing of wisdom and knowledge is most important thing.”

That from a young girl in high school. On this day. During this stage in my life. And when healing eyes is founded on the mission of compassion and empathy.  

Healing Eyes

Anniversary of change and loss

What happens when a shy widow meets 30 kids in a classroom to teach English vocabulary? An opportunity to stretch myself….whispering kids…and an occasional hand clapping to get there attention. Part way through teaching new English words I noticed some sleepy heads and changed tactics. I had them write on the blackboard. One boy was very shy and so I went easy on him but others I forced up and tried to encourage them with smiles. It was lots of fun and after English they learned the ukulele. They also insisted I sing for them. So I stood in front and bashfully sang Somewhere over the rainbow. Then I taught them the words and we sang together. I would love to share the video but perhaps when I have better wifi ūüėČ

It’s been a long journey to get to this point and each day I am saddened by what I lost before arriving at this point. I miss my career and miss feeling important and successful. I try to explain to the kids my ‘job’ and I feel stupid for what I gave up to do this. I can’t even articulate in a way they understand because it sounds crazy to me! 

Selling everything while grieving and then moving to an island and now serving in Africa. When I am not a chipper missionary like they are used to. I stick out and don’t smile and wave enough. Instead I silently wait for kids to find me (and they do) and then I talk to them and find out maybe I can connect with them in unusual ways. Even yesterday I explained compassion and empathy to some students. They had no idea what they were. So I used my story as an analogy to explain how I can empathize with death and widowhood. I think they understood. 

I never thought I would enjoy talking with older kids but something changed in me and now I am so at ease with them. 

I still miss my boyfriend terribly at the same time as grieving my husband. So odd…but being a widow is proving to be a tiring thing for me. I miss my soulmate and still question why me and why this and that. Why do I love again and still love my deceased husband. Why do I like kids now. Why did I give my job up. Why do I doubt and fear. Why Africa?!?! 

Tomorrow would have been my 15th wedding anniversary. Normally I eat a fancy dinner but this year I’ll be having rice and peanut butter. Plus I’m in Africa following something I don’t understand. 

For photos check out our Facebook page. 

Healing Eyes

help I’m drowning in the darkness and lured by my past

Help…help…I’m sinking and the darkness has found its way in through the evil that remains at the school I have been placed in. Thought to be gone after a leader there was removed but it seems there lingers still a presence very real. Unwelcome outsiders and a feeling of irritation weighed heavy on my heart. Angry feelings creeped in and ideas of quitting snaked their way into my thoughts. Words came out of me of complaint and fear, not wanting to continue placed on my heart. 

This week has been beyond difficult and nights ended in tears of agony. Why ever did I come to this place .. A place where I am unwanted. What was God teaching me? And perhaps what battle was I losing as my mission was under attack by an invisible foe. 

Is spiritual warfare truly real? I am a sceptic to be honest. But perhaps I should consider the possibility that I am wrong … That evil is more powerful  and sneakier than I gave it credit for. 

Cut off from the world …limited internet and phone. No where to turn but within for help.  

A miracle in sight? A glimpse I think … A crack of light shining in that I cling to. A child named Faith on the other side of the barb wire fence says hi and smiles. I force a smile back as I feel darkness still has a hold on me. I cross over to her and a bit of lightness appears and then another child smiles and another and another. Soon I am sitting in the grass surrounded by kids quietly studying each other. Than a choir of kids begin practicing a song and the heavy darkness lifts more. 

A miracle? A hand stretched out to rescue me? These children I was hidden from for days. It had felt like a prison and the adults there were keeping me from the kids I came to see. But somehow a crack in the wire pulled me out and I see hope. 

The sun was shining again and on that field in the grass I sat with a sea of smiling faces. In the distance I saw a small girl dressed in pink hiding behind a tree. She peaked around at the other kids but quickly hid again. I smiled at her and tried to motion her over but she didn’t budge. I felt compelled to keep trying. I felt silly for caring so I let my fear of looking odd go and walked awkwardly over to her. Her eyes were big and shiny, her clothes dirty, but her shy demeanor related to me. She didn’t speak but it didn’t matter. I rubbed her back and told her how beautiful and loved she was. Maybe that was all she needed … To be seen at least. 

Is that what we all feel? Do we hide behind trees hoping someone will see us? Are we all tattered and bruised from life and afraid to see light on the other side? Afraid to step out and risk everything…I admit I am. I’m terrified of this transition and of where I will land. I am a stranger in a land I don’t want to be in. Can I turn away from a small girl in pink hiding behind a tree…can I ever be who I was before the death of my soulmate? Or am I forever changed? Part of me wishes to go back to my old life but than I think I would lose more than I could gain if I would just look forward than behind. 

Healing Eyes

Faith appeared 

I met a Girl named faith when first arriving. The name was pretty and I didn’t put it together in my head as to why it struck me. Until later in the day after sitting through a long ceremony on a hard chair did I see why God put the word ‘faith’ in front of me. He was trying to tell me have faith Sarah even if you feel tired frustrated and sick. 

I’ve been concerned about land and purpose and needing answers I wasn’t prepared for this next bread crumb. 

A man I met my first day here who was giving the land to the ministry I’ve been serving with while here decided to seek me out. Now understand my first meeting with him I was jet lagged. Now this second interaction I was feeling ill and drained from the day too. Perhaps God wants to step in when I am at my weakest to show off. 

The reason why this man found me sitting alone was because I wasn’t playing soccer with the others and the kids were occupied elsewhere. So the moment was just right. He asked me again what I was wanting to do in Africa. I stuttered and eventually spit out the insane idea I had. Then I basically admitted I’m clueless and have no idea how to accomplish this. 

He has connections with locals and other organizations and his non profit aims to Connect others and give help where needed to orphans and widows. 

If I had been with the kids I would’ve have not talked to him. The meeting was arranged by God. 

His passion is to help educate families about how to have healthy babies and also preventing young girls from getting pregnant. He also tries to help widows find ways to support themselves and there children. Perhaps some of what he said was just to hook me but I can’t deny a lot of it seemed too aligned with what I’m trying to find. I can’t deny God had a hand in this meeting. 

Top it all off and he knew about the waterfall In Uganda and has ways to inquire about the need there and available land.

My eyes were on land but it seems it’s being redirected towards a possible relationship with this other organization that came out of nowhere. 

Healing Eyes

A gimme gimme mentality

I am sickened by what I see in the future generations here. The damage done by white people coming in and giving freebies to the children over the years has created damaged relationships. Even if the gifts were given with good intentions the consequences of those actions has caused severe harm to the self esteem of future generations. 

How can children grow up to be successful when they see themselves as helpless and poor. Only deserving of handouts. What hurts more is that I am in a way aiding in this continued mentality of relying on white people to fix there situation for the better. 

I am sickened by my own heritage. Embarrassed by those who came before me. 

When the Mazungoo drive in with there good intentions of helping others the locals wave and greet with smiling faces. It’s as if we are celebrities when In truth it is broken and entirely messed up. We get puffed up egos by being welcomed so easily and leave feeling important. They are looking to the wrong source for help. It’s only within that change can happen. Confidence , self esteem, and reliance on there own abilities and talents to succeed. We are interfering with that opportunity by our presence in matters beyond our reach. Locals must see locals creating change and not a van full of Mazungoos coming and going while smiling and waving. 

All that said I still love these kids and see potential if only the Mazungoos would stop giving freebies in the wrong situations. Think hard first about what that handout will do to the future of the kids ability to rely on themselves. 

Healing Eyes

Can fear drive faith?

I would like everyone to take a moment of silence and see life through a different lens for 5 minutes. If you were told to just blindly trust something you can’t see in hopes that you would still eat and have shelter but you didn’t know how, would you feel comfortable doing that? Would it be easy to just say ‘ok’ and have no anxiety or fear about it? What if you had under two months to get a large sum of money together in order to spend time with orphans suffering in a far off land? But you believed it was possible and knew up until the final hour you would be provided for….(periodically you would freak out and run but generally speaking you would hold steady).

Today I just saw it come true…the promise was kept…and I have nothing to worry about in regards to finances for this mission because the Post Carrier just dropped off the final miracle on my final day to get the money all together. I drove to one church and found a check placed under a rock and then I came home and saw the postal carrier depositing the other check in my mailbox earlier than expected. So YES, I now truly have the entire funds needed and promised to me back when I decided to Believe it’s possible and Asked for help from others.

A friend asked me today, “Wouldn’t it seem like it should get easier the more you go?” “Yet it seems it only gets bigger and scarier the more you decide to follow”. Why is that?

I might be wrong but I think it is because…

If we don’t fear relinquishing control how can we grow perseverance.
If we never fear than wouldn’t it be too easy to give things up for God. And then how would we grow in trust?
If we are supposed to turn over anxiety and fear to God then how can we if we don’t have it to begin with?
If it gets easier the more we trust than how can we learn from suffering, if we never feel it because we numbly go along trusting God because we know he knows best. But then later we can reflect and learn and grow from knowing why we were afraid at the time but that then allows us to connect with each other in the common fear of fear.
Those who don’t believe in Gods love will think us dumb sheep who do what the master says to do and hence think we are stupid. When they are hurting and think they must be alone since Christians make it look so fake and unreal because they think we are without worry and real fear.
Even if we do as the ‘boss’ says to do but show our weakness of fear than we are in effect showing to others we are too weak and can’t do it alone. But since we show it we than prove Gods message to rely on him even when we are weak and scared. Be scared but still go!! Because that’s how he proves the plan all along.
If I ever lose fear and tears when going I might start to think I’m in control and don’t need God because it’s no big deal each time I go.
Kind of like a catch 22! Give fear over but still requires to show it?
Healing Eyes

Comfort to others through suffering 

 Packing supplies for upcoming trip to Kenya…quite a few are for one girl named Billah that I still need to figure out how to get to, but where there is a will there is a way!

It’s been very exciting see others join me in buying the supplies I need. I bought books, pencils, and a children bible and no sooner did I put the request out to friends and the support came in from as far as St Croix! I love seeing how God is using my relationships built over the year to further his plan. It seems I am repeatedly bring put in my place by humbling myself to depend on God to do the heavy lifting behind my back. 

Many of you followed my blog years ago pre-cancer and pre-faith. It’s crazy to see how much has changed and how my perspective on life has changed. Perhaps suffering really does mold us under the fire of pain to create a more complete version of ourselves. I know I miss Andy as if it was just yesterday when he died and yet I still keep going on and am amazed at what I am capable of. It isn’t me! It isn’t my strength!

I mean today I stood in a church and was prayed over! That’s just crazy and out of my comfort zone yet again…who have I become and what is waiting for me in Africa? 

Perhaps being willing to open my arms to the unknown has finally opened the door for my first lover to show me what abundant love is…that empty feeling inside I tried filling with things and expectations of society was never enough. Is this the secret of life? Complete submission to faith and trusting that still small voice inside?

I hope so!! I know I’m scared to keep going and I still cry a lot but if I can be comforted by a God like this than perhaps others can experience it to! Living precariously through my walk:)

Tuesday is coming fast…and I will board that plane again…trusting my invisible friend and first love..Jesus. 

   

Healing Eyes

An elephant will fit in my carry on right?

Maybe I went a little bit overboard on last minute things for Africa….In all fairness most of the cost is teaching materials such as flash cards and bible stories for kids.¬†Yes I may have spoiled one girl a bit that I don’t really have a firm plan on seeing quite yet…but I know I’ll see her and I want to be prepared when I do. It can’t be that hard to get a car and cross the border into Uganda to find little Billah by the waterfall, I mean I can find my way back to that spot as long as I can get a car and possibly a partner in crime to venture off.

So this is the goodies for Billah..and yes there is an elephant and he/she doesn’t have a name yet but I’ll think of one I’m sure:)
Did I go a little overboard on her? hmmm well considering I don’t see her much and a lot of it is for her schooling I think I am ok with the spoiling. Calculator, Geometry Set, Pencils, Sharpeners, colored pencils, pencil bag, match workbook and of course Girlie Stickers. ¬†I think that will give her a well rounded education and a touch of compassion and love.

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Next pile are some necessities of tutoring and some cute little erasers for the school kids. The story books are for a bit of relationship building by maying some story telling opportunities:)?

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Lastly a Big Picture Bible book for those crowds of kids at the medical clinics that need some attention. Last time I had my ukulele and the kids sat around as I played, I’ll also have that this time but I thought why not mix in some storytelling here too. It has very colorful pages and some chance to share why I am there and that they are loved a ton.

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So now How will I get this in my luggage? very very carefully and with expert Tetris skills:)

Healing Eyes